Something soft was tickling his cheek. He realized that he was warm, dry, in bed, and on his back. “This was nice,” he mused. The light tickling on his cheek came again. The scent of flowers and Strawberries finally made it through to his brain to wake him up. Harry opened his right eye to look around and found himself staring into someone else’s left eye. A beautiful brown eye that was part of the loveliest face he could imagine.
“Hi, you all right?” he heard her voice come to him very softly, but he was having trouble responding. He closed his eye and returned to his inner place of sleep. A while later, Harry finally awoke and saw that Ginny was still there, next to him. “Hi,” she said again. “Are you finally back for good,” Ginny asked.
“How long have I been out?” Harry asked her.
“Almost five hours. I was getting worried.” Ginny whispered. “Why is it that I seem to spend more time in here visiting you then anyplace else?”
“No doubt, it’s because of my radiant personality,” Harry kidded her.
“You’re feeling better I see,” she said as she leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips. “I was worried. I hate seeing you get hurt all the time. Please try to be a little more careful. I want you around for a long time,” she finished off with another light kiss.
“Mm, that sounds wonderful. I do want to be with you for a long time. Ginny, for all the pain and worry I put you through, I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” Harry asked as he came fully awake.
“Apology accepted Mr. Potter, just don’t let it happen again,” Ginny whispered to him.
“I couldn’t go another day, again, without knowing what you were doing and where you were. This has been the longest school year of my life, and I hope that I never have to go through something like this again.”
“If I have anything to say about it, you won’t,” Harry promised. “Is Mari all right? She was hurt quite badly. I’ve got to go see her.” Harry was almost rambling on, as he tried to get out of bed.
“She’s all right, Harry; I’ve just come from visiting with her. She’s recuperating nicely. Madame Pomfrey used a salve made of eucalyptus oil and sea salt and rubbed it into her wounds. It seemed to cause Mari to produce a thick layer of slime that’s healing her injuries. I didn’t know that mermaids could do that,” Ginny explained.
“I still want to see her,” Harry said as he sat up on the edge of the bed.
Before his toes could touch the floor, the door to Madame Pomfrey’s office swung open. She came charging into the room as if she had been waiting for Harry to do this. “Potter, get back in bed now,” she ordered stepping forward as she pointed her finger at him. “You’re not walking around for at least the rest of today, and if you give me any trouble I’ll keep you here a couple more days just for good measure. Do you understand me?”
“I need to see Mari. Just let me see her for a few minutes and then I’ll stay in bed for two days, all right,” Harry begged.
“Wait here, don’t move Potter, you hear me!” she said as she made her way back to her office. A moment later, she returned with an old wheel chair. “If your lady friend wants to take you there then I guess it would be all right,” Madame Pomfrey told him trying desperately to conceal a smile.
“I’ll push you Harry, it’ll be fun,” Ginny piped up.
Harry wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. There was something in Ginny's eyes that told him, he was in for it. With the help of Poppy, Ginny got Harry into the chair. The two ladies took one of his blankets and rapped it around his legs. Ginny touched the back of his pajama pants with her wand. Harry felt something pull him down tight to the seat.
“Ginny what did you just do to me? I can’t get up,” Harry observed.
“I used a simple sticking charm dear, this way the ‘old man’ won’t fall out of his chair,” Ginny teased. “Ready? Let’s go,” Ginny said, as she pulled him around and started pushing the chair toward the door.
“Don’t keep him out to long dear, he’s still not as strong as he thinks he is,” Madame Pomfrey admonished her. “Have fun!”
Ginny pushed the chair toward the door with all the strength she had. She almost lost control as she reached the door but was able to pull Harry out through the door and down the corridor. With a renewed burst of energy, she pushed Harry toward the stairs. When they were only three meters from the downward staircase, Harry tried to grab the wheels to stop but couldn’t halt his forward momentum. He put his arms over his face to prepare for the fall down the stairs. When nothing happened, Harry uncovered his face to see that he was floating gently down the stairs. Ginny was laughing since she had her wand out and was controlling his decent.
“Really Harry, did you think for one moment I would let you fall down the stairs?” Ginny asked, quite amused. "I’ve waited to long to let you get hurt at this point." She grabbed his chair and was off running once again. Harry held on to the arms of the chair for dear life but couldn’t stop what was being done.
“Ginny, please slow down. I’d like to see Mari while I’m still in one piece,” Harry begged. “Help!! Help!! I’m being kidnapped by a mad witch, someone save me,” Harry yelled at the top of his lungs. “Ginny, I survived a one on one battle with Tom. I’d like to grow old if you don’t mind,” Harry gasped, as he could no longer contain his laughter.
Ginny and Harry found themselves outside of the prefects bathroom that Harry had used to get the clue from the golden dragon egg, so many years ago. She turned and pulled him though the door into the chamber. Immediately, Harry felt the humid air and smelt the strong aroma of Eucalyptus. There, resting her arms on the edge of the prefect’s tub, floated Mari. She and Luna were having an animated discussion about something that Harry couldn’t figure out.
“Hello, Mari, how are you feeling,” Harry asked.
“OK,” Mari was able to say. Harry sat there dumbstruck. “Wow, since when have you been able to speak our language?” Harry asked her.
“We’ve been having a girls’ discussion. Do you know that mermen are just like the men that are on shore? It seems that they do the same stupid things down there as you do up here. See, we are quite alike,” Luna observed.
Harry raised his hands, “All right I surrender. In this case I agree with you. I’m glad; it makes it easier for us to get along on our little journey.”
Harry stayed and chatted with the girls for another half hour before Ginny brought him back to the infirmary. Harry screamed and begged Ginny to be careful all the way back to his bed. Once he was tucked back in, she sat on the edge of the bed, held his hand and gently ran her fingers through his hair until she soothed him to sleep.
“Sleep well my love, only good dreams tonight, I pray,” Ginny whispered into his ear.
Soft sunlight slipped across Harry’s pillow until it touched his eyes. He slowly awoke and stretched out. He felt good, except he was hungry. Using his elbows to prop himself up, he reached for his night stand, put on his glasses and looked around. Ginny had left, and the room was so quiet that he could hear his own heart beat.
Harry removed his pajama shirt and looked at the new set of scars on his torso. Madame Pomfrey had done a superb job of healing his injuries, once again. He looked around but didn’t find any clothes there, for him. His attention was drawn over to Poppy’s office as he heard someone open the door.
“Ah, good morning Potter. How are you this morning,” his matron asked. “Any soreness to any of your wounds?” When Harry shook his head no, she nodded. “Very good then, you can go. Oh, by the way Harry, thank you, you did us a great service the other day. We won’t forget it. Well, that’s all, you can go.”
“Ah, Madame Pomfrey, where are my clothes?” Harry asked.
Poppy brought her hand to her mouth. “Oh, no! I forgot, they were so badly damaged that I threw them out. I’m sorry Harry you don’t have any clothes.”
“Kreacher!” Harry called. Seconds later, his elf popped into the hospital wing.
“What do you wish of me, master?”
“First of all, please call me Harry, all right. Next, do I have any clothes?” Harry inquired.
“Not here Master,” Kreacher said ignoring what Harry had just asked of him, “they would be back at twelve Grimmauld Place. Shall I go and get you a set?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate it.” Moments later, Kreacher returned with a set of Harry’s clothes. Harry went to slip his pants on and found that they didn’t fit. He didn’t realize that he hadn’t tried these clothes on in two years. The pants came up some several centimeters above his ankles.
“Great! Am I going to have to run around in my pajama pants all day?” he asked Poppy.
With this Neville and Luna came to visit. “Hello, Harry how do you feel today?” Luna asked him in that same soft, far away voice.
“Good, except I don’t have any clothes to put on,” Harry chuckled.
“Neville dear, why don’t you give Harry a set of you clothes, this way he’ll have something to use until he can purchase new ones,” Luna told him softly.
“That’s a good idea; I’ll be right back Harry.” Neville agreed.
Before Harry could say anything, Neville was gone out the door. Within a few minutes, he returned with a set of underwear, pants, and a shirt. Although, they were a little baggy they would do in a pinch.
Harry put on his trainers and headed down to the Great Hall for as large of a breakfast as he could eat in one sitting. His two friends accompanied him as he went down the stairs and across the entrance foyer to a hearty breakfast.
While Harry was eating, he could hear Professor McGonagall and Professor Slughorn discussing the repairs that would have to be made before the start of classes in September. From what he could gather, the building was so badly damaged that several sections would have to be closed off too the students next year. Harry went over to them to see what could be done. Within a couple of minutes he was joined by Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Neville and Luna.
“Why can’t we just use Reparo? It would be fairly quick and everyone here can pitch in and help,” Ron asked.
“The castle is too large for that spell to work, Ron,” Hermione informed him.
Harry looked at Hermione in a far off way, and then turned toward the four crystal chambers that held the jewels for each of the Hogwarts houses. They had been shattered and their contents had been spread all over the floor. He brought his wand up and as he closed his eyes to focus on what he was going to do, he felt a soft hand touch his left arm. Ginny had come up on his left side holding her wand in her right hand. He wrapped his left arm around her waist. Within seconds six wands were pointed at the exact same spot. Without a command, the six friends intoned, “Reparo!” A green ectoplasm like substance began to broadcast out of the tip of their wands. No one moved as the ectoplasm began to spread forward from them to the wall. The jewels were pushed back up the wall and into their respective chambers. The glass of the chambers fused back into the original clear cylinders.
The friends put their wands down, but the ectoplasm continued to spread up the walls and across the floor. Wherever the ectoplasm went, the rock floor and the walls began to appear as if they were pristine and new. It continued through the rest of the room and onto the Great Doors, repairing any scratch, dent, or mark, student carvings on the tables, and cracks in the rock of the wall. Harry and his friends, along with the staff of Hogwarts, stood there with their mouths hanging open. It seemed that the castle had been waiting, dormant, for centuries for this one spell as a trigger to repair itself. With each second that passed, the speed at which the ectoplasm affected repairs on the castle increased. After a few minutes or so, repairs were occurring at such a rate of speed that every corner of the castle was covered in green ectoplasm. The sound of stones being banged together and windows clinking back into their frames became deafening.
Harry pointed out the walls above the ancient braziers. Where a thousand years of soot had blackened the walls and eagle brazier holders, clean light colored stone, and bronze metalwork now gleamed. Where there were grooves in the floor from the base of the great doors grinding over them, for so many centuries smooth fresh stone now lay.
The group moved toward the great doors and into the foyer. They watched as the banisters that had been broken from the battle and had been turned a greasy grey from a thousand years of human hands rubbing on them, were repaired and returned to their original alabaster white color.
Professor McGonagall came over to Harry and the others. “This is incredible; I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s truly amazing”. She gave Harry a hug, then turned to each of the other five students and did the same to them. Harry stood there stunned. Just when he thought he had Professor McGonagall figured out she would change the information on him.
Harry’s foot had just touched the first refurbished stone step when a small group of house elves came up from the kitchen. Each of the elves was dressed in a new house elf uniform. Kreacher’s worried expression told Harry that something wasn’t right. His elf came up and bowed before speaking. “Did we do something wrong Master?” he asked with a trembling voice.
“No, Kreacher. Why do you ask.” Harry said with true concern in his voice.
“You gave us clothes, have we all been dismissed?” One of the other elves asked.
Harry saw the problem that the elves were having. “Can we go downstairs to the kitchen, please?” He asked.
The group turned and descended the stairs together. When the portrait opened and the seven visitors entered, they all stopped short and looked on in amazement. There, standing in front of them in four neat double rows were all the elves of Hogwarts. Every one of them was wearing a new uniform consisting of pants, long sleeve shirts, and a vest with the emblem of the house they took care of.
“Did any one here have to remove their old clothes to put on these new uniforms?” he asked no one in particular. The elves looked at each other, but no one spoke.
Finally, Winky stepped up and told the assembled wizards and witches that their previous clothes had transformed into the uniforms that they saw now. Harry smiled, “These new uniforms are your old clothes that the castle has transmuted. You were not given any new clothes so therefore you’re still working for Hogwarts, that’s if you still want?”
One of the elves nearest Harry stepped forward and tentatively gave Harry a hug. This had never been done before, but the occurrences of the last few days had brought down some barriers. He then went to Ron and hugged him, then continued on through all of the visitors. This seemed to trigger a reaction from the rest of the elves. Each elf took his turn and went down the line hugging each guest. After this was accomplished Harry stepped forward and raised his hand. Everyone quieted and waited for what he was going to say.
“We all saw how the elves of Hogwarts fought alongside the rest of the freedom fighters. We thank you for your assistance, you will always have a place to work here for as long as you desire. As one, the elves bowed low to Harry and the others. When they had stood up, Harry and the others returned the bow. This triggered an audible sigh from all of the elves present. With this Harry and company turned and returned to the foyer.
The five members of Gryffindor House, Luna, and Professor McGonagall went up the stairs together and reached the fat ladies portrait. She was looking at herself, admiring the new clean look to her frame and canvas. All five said, “Harry Potter,” at the same time. They walked through the portal chuckling at what had just happened.
The ectoplasm had done its work here as well. All the tapestries looked as if they had just been hung, even if they were several hundred years old. Harry looked at their favorite study nook and saw that the chair and couch appeared as if they were new. The back of the hearth had been cleaned of soot and something appeared there that hadn’t been seen in centuries. The backing of the fireplace was covered by a bronze enclosure that showed a relief of the Gryffindor lion.
“Wow!! Harry, when you do something, you really do it!” Ron observed in an almost revered whisper.
The next morning, Harry awoke to bright sunlight coming in through the curtains around his four poster. He quickly dressed in Neville’s clothes and went down stairs. Once he reached the common room, he found Ginny just coming down with Hermione from their dorm room.
The three friends went down to the Great Hall together, marveling at how the castle had transfigured itself. They met Ron at the Gryffindor table, already eating breakfast.
“I was hungry and you were still asleep, so I figured I’d start breakfast early,” Ron said.
Before Harry could sit down, Professor McGonagall called him up to the head table on the raised dais
“Harry we’ll be having Professor Snape’s services this afternoon,” she informed him. “I’d like you to say a few words since you seem to have some information that no one else has.”
“Professor, I’ve nothing appropriate to wear. All my clothes are either to small or destroyed. What should I do?” Harry asked.
The headmistress thought for a moment. “Come with me Harry, I think I have something for you.”
They left the Great Hall and went up to her office. Minerva looked up at Dumbledore’s portrait, “Is it all right to use what’s in the armoire, Albus?”
“Of course if you don’t, they’ll only go to waste. I’m sure they will look good on Harry if you readjust them for his build. Harry please accept what’s there as a present from me to you. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m very proud of you. Thank you for what you’ve done. You’ve accomplished more then I hoped for. Well done!! Well done!!”
“Thank you Professor. The object that we were speaking of the other night has been taken care of. I’ve also made arrangements for Tom. He won’t be back,” Harry informed his late Headmaster.
Minerva took him up the stairs, behind her desk, to what was once Dumbledore’s private quarters. She showed Harry an armoire that looked as if it had been there since Hogwarts opened.
Harry opened the door and saw a set of different wizard’s robes neatly hanging in sequence. Professor McGonagall pulled the Cobalt blue robe from the right side and held it up in front of Harry to see how it would look.
“Not bad, Potter, try it on!” she said.
“Whom does this robe belong too?” Harry asked.
“It was Dumbledore’s. Use the changing screen over there,” Professor McGonagall said.
Harry came out from behind the screen with the robes on. They were a bit baggy for him but Minerva waved her wand as if to smooth the robes out. Immediately, the robes constricted until they fitted Harry.
“Quite impressive Harry, Dumbledore will be pleased. The other robes are yours as well," she said.
He went back and looked at the other robes in the armoire. Along with the black, navy blue, sky blue and grey robes, Harry spotted something at the back of the other robes. He pushed them aside and came out with a blood red robe.
“What’s this one, Professor?” Harry asked.
“Oh! Be careful with that one Harry, that’s a dueling robe,” she said.
“A what?” Harry was immediately taken with it. It felt good in his hands.
“A dueling robe, Harry, it’s what Dumbledore was wearing in his duel with Gellert Grindelwald. Its’ blood red so that the other wizard can’t tell how badly hurt you are, if you were bleeding from injuries incurred during the battle. It was a mark of excellence to wear a robe like this at one time,” McGonagall explained.
“Why did it stop?” Harry asked, feeling he knew the answer.
“Voldemort! He was always a coward. You can’t use a robe like this when you go up against a sneak and a coward. You see Harry to wear this robe is to tell your opponent that you respect him enough to fight him straight on. Tom would rather sneak up and curse you in the back. It takes courage to wear this robe.” Minerva considered it for a moment, “Harry, try it on.”
Harry went to carry it behind the changing screen but the professor stopped him. “Just pass your wand in front of yourself and think of what you want to put on. The incantation is Alterāre. Try it.”
He raised his wand along the front of his robe. It changed from the Cobalt Blue robe to the blood robe, as Harry started to think of it. The Cobalt Blue robe was now draped on the hanger that the red robe had been on. It fit as if it had been tailored especially for Harry.
Seeing the face that Harry was making, Minerva explained that the last time Dumbledore wore this robe was when he was younger and a bit less robust, as she called it.
“It looks good on you Harry, but only wear it when you’re sure of going into battle. Also, you don’t need to hold your wand. It will be enveloped by this pocket on the inside of your sleeve. When you need it, just stick your hand out and the wand will be in your hand. Harry tried it, before he had his hand half way up the wand slapped into his hand. He looked at what had happened and was amazed by how well it worked and felt.
“Now Harry, use the other robe for today, it does look good on you. Come down to the Great Hall when you’re ready,” she suggested.
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